review

god’s own country

Directors: Francis Lee

Starring: Josh O’ConnorGemma Jones & Harry Lister Smith

Released: 28th January 2018

Bafta Nominated God’s Own Country is a very British love story set in the rugged landscape of West Yorkshire, complete with hard drinking and casual sex captured beautifully by first time director Francis Lee. It is in this rugged landscape that Johnny Saxby – (Josh O’Connor), more recently seen huffing around Corfu as Lawrence Durrell – struggles to get by. He helps run his family farm alongside his grandmother (Gemma Jones) after his father (Ian Hart) falls ill. Conversation is terse and flinty; such is the tough, unsentimental nature of this community. During lambing season, the farm takes on a Romanian migrant worker, Gheorghe Ionescu (Alec Secareanu); up in the hills, Johnny and Gheorghe’s relationship develops away from prying eyes. It would be easy to see God’s Own Country as an uneasy mix of Brokeback Mountain and All Creatures Great And Small – it isn’t. Instead it feels closer in spirit to Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights – which similarly took place in an eerie, untamed wilderness – or Pawel Pawlikowski’s splendid Yorkshire-set romance My Summer Of Love.

Michael Bonner


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